The image is hard to forget: women standing shoulder to shoulder in solidarity as they marched through the streets of Washington, D.C., an army donning bright pink knit hats with cat ears. Pussyhats. The Pussyhat immediately became a symbol of the Women’s March and the women’s movement as a whole, and it’s hard to imagine that the creator of The Pussyhat Project had trouble finding the confidence to use her voice for change. But Krista Suh, now the author of “DIY Rules for a WTF World: How to Speak Up, Get Creative, and Change the World,” admits that it was something that she struggled with.
“Honestly, it was perfection,” said Krista on what was silencing her voice. She had ambition, but she harbored a fear of messing up. Krista felt that the Women’s March was time to speak up after self-policing for so long. She always knew the type of woman she wanted to be, and Krista had this “deeply rooted understanding that something was wrong for women in the world.”
Krista hasn’t always been an activist; she is a comedy screenwriter by trade, a career she was warned was “a world not for women.” It’s a job full of old white men, she said, and her family was not entirely on board with her choice, but she pursued it anyway. Krista believes that you don’t have to be born with the skills you need for success; you’re allowed to cultivate them, as she describes in the chapters “Schmoozing” and “How to Talk to Rich People” in her book. As an ambitious female screenwriter in her time before The Pussyhat Project, although she wasn’t labeled as an activist then, Krista felt like she was. She went against the popular opinion of what her loved ones thought was the right path for her, and that is “what an activist does.” Follows their own path in the face of adversity.
Her work was inspiring, but others didn’t always view it that way.“I was called vile,” Krista said. In her book she encourages readers to make a mess, to drive home this point she uses the example of skinning a deer: “Anyone can skin a deer. It just matters how long you take.” Krista, for one, is grateful for being a mess. The Pussyhat Project was put together in just six days, but it was done thoroughly and quickly. She wasn’t worried about sitting on the idea. She jumped right in, a method she applied when she wrote her first feature screenplay as well. Krista noted that women are more trash talked for being a mess, and they have to prove themselves over and over.
Becoming one of the faces (or hats) of the Women’s Rights Movement is no easy task, but it does come with intrinsic rewards. Krista feels that her position in the movement helped her “be more connected with hope.” She describes herself as a hopeful, positive person, and she finds it’s easier to keep up with hope by being in the middle of the movement. But where did that spark of hope come from?
Before the 2016 presidential election, Krista set aside time to film her own Youtube show, one that was intended to be a “self-help channel on steroids.” The election was an obvious wakeup call for her. Krista said that she began “listening to the whispers,” as Oprah would say, but witnessing events such as the Trump presidency and the Charlottesville Riots allowed her to “become more aware of the iceberg below.” The issues at hand are larger than they may seem.
Krista remembers riding the train in L.A. when she was harassed by a man. He masturbated at her. When she got off the train, a different man followed her home and attempted to block her exits. For any woman, this is terrifying, but Krista said that it “happens too often,” and it wasn’t the worst thing that could’ve happened to her. Krista was afraid, and she had issues with reporting the incidents and was called a liar. She then had an important realization. “Misogyny is not just hatred of women, but mistrust of women,” she said. This led to yet another thought: “how is it fair that for me to get home safely, it costs me $20, but for a man it costs $2?” Krista walked home from the train that day, but paying for an Uber or Lyft would have protected her from being followed. A man generally doesn’t need to worry about that. The culmination of these events gave her the push she needed.
But there are issues inside of the Feminist Movement as well; Krista wants to see less shaming in the realm of activism, as she feels that people often get judged for their roles and contributions. To fix this, she hopes to see the Women’s Movement become more accessible and intersectional. .
Feminism wears many hats. It means something different to every person who considers themselves a feminist, but if there is one thing feminists have in common, it should be the power to have a voice.
“Feminism is about speaking up for ourselves,” said Krista, adding that it should also concern removing the shame out of feminity. She emphasizes that not all women have pussies, but everyone still benefits from revering the feminine. Feminism isn’t “bad men versus good women,” she said. It’s about moving towards equality.
Just as the pussyhat became a fixture in the Women’s Rights Movement, Krista’s newest project seeks to make an impact as well: Evil Eye gloves. The Evil Eye gloves were designed for the March for Our Lives. The meaning behind the gloves is to let Congress know that all eyes are on them for gun reform.
“We need to care again and we need protect children,” Krista said, noting that this is just “common sense.” She believes that this is simply an act protecting what we hold dear. “If I can’t feel, I can’t help,” she said. America has become desensitized to violence, and through activism Krista felt her “heart crack open” to feel again. Krista’s goal with the Evil Eye gloves is to inspire people to engage in politics and become civilly conscious. Krista wonders only one thing:
Where will the Eye go next?
Check out an excerpt of Krista’s new book here.
Author: Sam Raudins
Author Bio: Sam is a journalism major at Ohio State who lives for football and good iced chai lattes. She is an intern at Harness, a reporter at The Lantern and Senior Editor at Her Campus Ohio State. In the past, Sam has created her own blog and developed a football column at Her Campus called “Femme Football.”
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